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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 13 May 2021) . . Page.. 1463 ..

Over the last year the ACT government has continued to provide support to public and community housing tenants to ensure that their financial needs are met as well as other supports during this time.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, what are some of the programs and initiatives that have assisted community housing tenants?

MS BERRY: First and foremost this relief was provided so that any tenant who faced financial hardship through the period would have this relief passed on. Some extended all or part of that relief to tenants to provide extra financial support. Most providers, such as the YWCA, Beryl, CatholicCare and Everyman, provided extra staffing and support workers to assist tenants in maintaining their homes and support their overall health and wellbeing.

Toora Women used the funds to install improvements and furnishings at properties for their tenants. Havelock Housing provided rent relief to affected tenants and supported new programs to provide food and meals to tenants, to run mental health training for staff and to contribute towards upgrades to tenant properties. St Vincent de Paul provided furnishings, food and materials for rough sleepers and clients transitioning to housing.

These are just a sample of some of the projects that were put in place to support those through rent relief. Through the $3 million investment community housing tenants were able to be supported in their homes over this challenging time, to receive extra financial supports and services.

MS ORR: Minister, how are the government’s investments lowering the energy costs for community housing tenants?

MS BERRY: In May 2020 the ACT government committed to solar and sustainability upgrades in public and community housing as part of the government’s fast-tracked infrastructure projects to support the local economy. Some $600,000 was spent to install solar panels on Common Ground Gungahlin, Toolangi in Kaleen, and 10 shared accommodation disability homes—all homes to community housing tenants. At Common Ground Gungahlin 169 solar panels have been installed. At Toolangi in Kaleen 342 solar panels were installed and across 15 community homes 187 panels were installed to homes head leased to CatholicCare, Focus ACT, Havelock Housing and St Vincent de Paul.

Overall, these panels will provide a year production of 348,645 kilowatt hours across all properties. These investments into community housing will provide long-term benefits to providers and tenants by lowering energy costs and assisting in tackling the effects of climate change. This has been a particularly challenging time for so many in the Canberra community, and while the effects of this pandemic will continue for some time it is great that these investments that have been made by the ACT government have had a positive impact on community housing tenants as well as their providers.

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